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A Living Portrait of India
Rabindranath Tagore
 

Rabindranath Tagore , the first Asian to get the Nobel prize, made pioneering contributions to literally every field of  Bengali literature, and was also an artist, educationost, patriot and humanist.

He was born in Calcutta(State : West Bengal) in 1861 into a  family of landed aristocrats with a bent for business as well as spiritualism, music and culture. He began to write early in his youth and for about 70 years literature of all possible forms flowed ceaselessly from his pen.

The volume and variety of Tagore's works are extraordinary and the quality of an order yet unsurpassed in India and on par with the best elsewhere in the world. His earlier works include collections of poems and songs( like Shaishab sangeet, Sandhya Sangeet, Prabhat Sangeet, and Kari-o-komal, plays like Mayar Khela and Mukut, and novels like Rajarshi and Bouthakuranir Haat. In the prime of his life, he created plays like Chitangada, Dakghar, Phalguni short stories like of Khudhita Pashaan, Kabuliwala, dramatic poems like Vidaya-abhishaap,  lyrical poetry as in Khanika, social novels like Gora, Chaturanga, Gharey-bairey. The collection of poems named Gitanjali was translated into English in 1912, and on 13 November, 1913, Rabindranath Tagore received the Nobel Prize in literature.In recognition of the literary eminence Rabindranath had already acquired at the time, the British Government conferred a knighthood on him on 3 June 1915. In protest against the Jallianwallabagh massacre in April 1919, he renounced it.

In Shantiniketan in the Birbhum district of West Bengal,  Rabindranath founded a boarding school for children where teaching was done in close contact with nature and with full attention to children's sensitivities. Later this developed into the VisvaBharati, an open-air university with a unique multi-disciplinary approach. Later poetical works by Rabindranath include Lipika, Purabi, Mohua, Naba-jataka, Senjuti and Punashcha. Novels of this stage include Shesher Kavita, Dui Bon, Malancha , and short stories include Laboratory and Pragatisamhar. He also wrote critical essays like Puratani Katha and Samkalpa O Swadesh, religious discourses like Shantiniketan, various poems, plays and short stories for children. He also began to paint and his style was so original and advanced that they have a permanent place in the history of modern Indian art. Rabindranath had very cordial relation with Gandhiji(and also Nehru), although his political views were his own. He was a great patriot who  believed neither in terrorist attacks nor in bonfires of foreign clothes. He was a widely travelled man, who wrote in admiration of Japanese as well as Russian society, the beauty of the Italian countryside, and in sorrowful condemnation of the violence of the two world wars.

In August 1940, Oxford University conferred a Doctorate of Literature on him, but from September 1940, his health began to decline , and he was operated upon in Calcutta 30 July,1941. Even a little before his operation, he dictated a poem of  the highest literary merit. The operation was not successful and Rabindranath Tagore passed away on 7 August 1941, at the age of 81.

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